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Sunday, June 10, 2012

War Horse

About an hour ago I just finished watching a wonderful guessed it, War Horse! Now if you haven't seen it you may not want to read any further as this blog is mainly inspired by this movie. 

I havent been on facebook for I believe a month now and during this last month, boy have I been through it.  I started an ultra rapid cycling but mostly manic episode.  It all started when I woke up around 4 am on a weekday mind you, a day when I have to take my two young children to school.  I woke up feeling like a million bucks.  I honestly thought, wow my meds are working and I'm NORMAL! I made a full course breakfast, very unusual for a weekday. I even had time to sit down and read with them.  I was supermom :)  After dropping them off at school I decided to do some shopping, why not I didn't have any anxiety AT ALL and normally I do while shopping.  Then....the dreaded then.  I could feel my mood rapidly change.  I was sweating profusely, even shaking and you guessed it I was starting to have a panic attack. Trying to keep myself together I purchased God knows what paying while my hands shacked as I swiped the card.  I amazingly got to my car and started crying like a baby.  I was so overwhelmed and I didn't want to be alone, I didn't feel safe being with myself. I thought something bad would happen to me if I remand alone.  I called people. I got a hold of a dear friend who helped me calm down enough to drive home.  Once I got home I was feverish and my muscles were so weak I could hardly get off the couch.  I had a major high and now I was having a major low.  My world became bleak and honestly hopeless and dreadfully fear filled.  I had not control anymore, my body was shutting down.

So once my husband and I figured out what was going on I called my doctor.  She changed my medication, that's it.  That was supposed to help. I also could no longer care for my children I was literally feeling like I was going insane. I described it to my husband that I am near a cliff and I'm about to fall off if I don't get help and get it now.  He called my in laws who I will call in loves because they are so wonderful, and they took the children for about a week, taking them to school and picking them up and staying at their place.  THANK GOD. 

It was one of the scariest episodes I've ever been through.  I would fight urges and impulses and my husband had to take my car keys away and have me on lock down.  I was not safe.  So I called my doctor again and she increased my meds.  I thought OK good now I should start feeling better soon.  But it only got worse.  I would be staying up unable to sleep or take naps.  I started gluing pebbles to our wall attempting an art project.  I had so many ideas running through my head and I couldn't stop the thought for the life of me.  It was dreadful and scary. 

Then BOOM, the low came...and I slept two days away. When I awoke I didn't know what day it was.  My in loves had to go back to work and could no longer help out with the children so it was me.  I did one day of driving them to school and I knew I could absolutely not drive back to pick them up.  I texted my husband and mom and pretty much said, I need help or I need to be hospitalized NOW.  I was scared I would hurt myself or God forbid by children.  I was losing my mind.  So my husband came home we called the doctor and she saw us immediately before making a decision to be an in patient at the hospital.  She took me off the medicine I was taking that she kept increasing and it was obviously making me worse or not helping me at all and she gave me a higher dose of zanx to calm me because I had easily used it all up and she started me on a new medication I had never tried before.  My husband took vacation time to take care of me and the children, then once the weekend rolled around they were back at the in loves.

Amazingly I got better, I felt like my mind was coming back. And thus I am here able to write this blog.
I am a strong Christian, I believe in hope, but I had lost all hope.  I believe I have purpose, I had lost my purpose.  I believe I am valuable, I lost value of my life and wanted to die.  I was no good. I was a burden. I would be better off.....dead. For my sake ( for relief  of the dreadful torment of having bipolar disorder) and for their sake....who would love me? I'm useless and should be thrown away.

I'm sorry but those were the thoughts and feelings I was battling almost daily, hourly, and by the minute.  The reason I named this blog warhorse is because in actuality that is who we are.  We just pause and repeat that to yourself.  We close your eyes and look at the darkness. Open and see the light...we fight and we win.

As strong as I thought I was I was weak, so very very weak.  As independent as I was I was fully dependant on others.  I thought I would NEVER get well.  I thought who will take care of me when I'm 50, 60, 70, or 80s? Will I be locked up for the rest of my life? I was scared and ashamed of what could have been my future, at least in my mind at the time.  But guess what? I did not lose my mind, I did not give up trying. I hoped with what little hope I had and I am here today feeling better, much better. 

The movie war horse was the first movie I watched while still recovering. It was not until I was done watching it when a thought entered my mind.  We, those who are at war with bipolar disorder are champions.  The father saw something in that horse, something special among all the other horses and said, that one, I want that one.  We are special, though some might reject us and not see our greatest potential, but there are some who do.  I went through war this month. I was shot at and bursed and muddy and bloody.  I was in a war for my sanity a war for my mind, a war for my life.  And I came through and made it home...home to sanity, home to peace, home to hope, and home to rest.

If you are facing what I am talking about, keep running, keep running! Run.............. until you make it home. <3

Fight the good fight
BB Jenni

Friday, May 4, 2012

How To Deal With...unsupportive, negative and down right mean people the severe disapproval of, or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.  Stigma may attach to a person, who differs from social or cultural norms. Stigma is the process by which the REACTION of others spoils normal identity.

This happens wether we like it or not.  Having a mental illness these days also means fighting the stigma that comes along with it.  At times the stigma can be harder than the illness its self.  So how do we handle those who have stigmatized us?  Well first off its easier said than done.  It can be painful and unfair what others think, say or do concerning your mental illness. 

Step one: Know that that person or persons are not educated about mental illness.  If they were they would think twice about making such rude, mean or unjust comments or actions.

Step two:  With step one it will better help you step back from the drama of it all and know that its not about you, its about them being scared of a topic they have no understanding of and are judging it unjustly.

Step three:  They are attacking the illness not you.  Yes it feels like we are being attacked but it is the illness they are attacking because somewhere in their mind they dont understand and therefore disagree and have their own pre conceived opinions of what they are observing.

Step four: Shake the dust off your feet and move on.  We all would love it if everyone loved us, supported us and understood us.  Wish them well in your heart. When we do that our hearts become better instead of bitter. 


Remove yourself from the stigma by removing yourself from the illness during that time. Because we are not our illness that is being attacked.

Understanding...that they dont know what they are talking about. Looking at them with compassion, knowing that they are afriad and want to attack. 

Move on...go where you will not be stigmatized. Remove yourself mentally, emotionally and if you can physically.

 I really hope all this will help release the pain that stigma can cause.  Remember you are more than your illness.  You are a fearfully and wonderfully made human being that deserves justice, understanding and support.  And thank God that things are better now a days.  There is more awareness and people are learning.  Dont get stuck in peoples dark cloud they try to put over you.  Forgive, release and wish them well and maybe someday the light will turn on for them to see the error of the stigma way.

God bless

Friday, April 20, 2012

Living In A Fish Bowl

Hi everyone, I recently deleted all my friends off of facebook.  It was a massive bold move on my part to help stabilize my emotions.  I have been wanting to get "off" of facebook as if it were a drug, for a long time.  I would try to take fasts and deactivate my account, sign out but could get right back on with a click of a button.  First off I didn't delete friends because of I have pretty nice and normal people in my life, it was for me.  My moods have been grey and I have found myself becoming short and irritated.  I control it real well but I hate the feeling.  I have been drained.  Facebook for the most part drains me emotionally.  I feel like even when I'm not on it I have the words, the actions the pictures all floating around me as I go about my day.  I do not need to know everything and on facebook you pretty much do.  I;ve also had a lot of fun on facebook.  It is fun and can be fun but for someone extreme such as myself it can go too far.  I have work to do and a family to take care of.  I have to be held accountable and with facebook there is no accountability, I can be on there all day and all night.  But something else will suffer. Like laundry.  Say you have laundry and a kitchen to clean up and you have facebook to look up that is full of beautiful pictures, funny quotes and updates from friends.  Well I would almost always chose facebook first. 

There is this thing called sensory overload and alot of people who have bipolar experience this.  I know that I certainly do.  Sometimes its better than other times.  Like right now I want to live in a 1.8 gallon fishbowl as apposed to a 10 gallon or say even the ocean.  I can not take it any more.  I love order.  I love simplicity.  I have a complicated inner life called bipolar and to have order outside brings a calm to my insides.  I am not your average Joe. 

I want to write this to vent and tell that this is something I am experiencing and that its ok to step back from things, even if they are good things or simple things.  I took a bold step toward my mental health.  I deleted facebook.  Life before facebook may have been lonelier or boring but it was healthy.  I got all my work done, meals cooked and I had energy to give my family.  I have spread myself too thin.  I have been living in a 10 gallon tank when I really do best and am blessed in a 1 gallon tank.

Bipolar <3 Butterfly

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Loving Someone Suffering With Bipolar Disorder

One of the best ways you can show your love for someone suffering bipolar is to never give up on them.  Yes it may be hard and there may be times when you have no idea what to do.  But one of the things you can do is tell them that you will always be here.  Even if you ran out of things to say and do, just knowing that someone is there no matter what brings assurance and eases the sufferers fear of being abandoned for something that is literally beyond their control.

Bipolar is a serious illness.  Just as if someone lost a leg and losing that leg has brought disability and limits and not to mention suffering.  The difference is you can easily see a lost leg but looking at a bipolar patient can at times look like they are choosing to be difficult.  Not true at all.  Most bipolar patients are the kindest and most compassionate people you could meet.  They know what suffering feels like and can have empathy for other sufferers. 

Also, read. Learn more about the illness.  Have an understanding for what they go through.  This will help you to not take alot of the things they do or say personally.  When one is depressed that is not the time to point out all their flaws.  They may need extra affirmations and positive feed back.  If your friend were in the hospital for any kind of illness the right thing to do would be visit and maybe even send flowers.  Same thing for someone suffering a mental illness.  Now is the time to show extra love, care and concern.  This will reinforce that this is an illness and is not their fault. 

Mania can bring a scare to loved ones watching their loved one act out of control.  Shopping sprees, life of the party, not sleeping, talking a million miles an hour.  It can feel like there is nothing you can do.  Sometimes the bipolar patient will resent your input because they don't see their behaviour as dangerous or out of the ordinary.  This may be time to step in with some tough love.  If they are going out of control with spending, take their credit or debit cards away for a time.  Make sure they are safe when going out with friends.  Keep alcohol away and maybe even out of the house.   And if it gets really bad get them to the hospital.  Call their doctor and get further advice.  Hopefully they will cooperate and receive the help.  You may not be able to talk them into doing what you want them to do.  Usually it takes them to realize their need for help.

 It may seem unfair that you have to deal with someone who has an illness, but it is the human thing to love, support and be there as much as possible.  Its the golden rule. Do unto others what you would have them do to you.  Think about that.  If you had any kind of illness.  Would that be the time for friends to step away, stop calling, decide that your no fun any more?  Well I can tell you that that is not friendship and your better off without them.  Think of Mother Teresa who dedicated her life to caring for the sick, poor and dieing.  Be great.  Make a difference.  Be important in someones life.  Does this mean never having time for yourself and never enjoying yourself? No.  But it does mean that this person needs you.  Feel honored that God would chose you to be His hands and feet, His heart and compassion.  Never ever give up especially if it is family.  You would never give up on your friend who could no longer walk would you?  If its true friendship you would still visit, still love and still give.  Life may be different now but it doesn't have to be ruined by illness, disease or a mental disorder. 

This is what I would want as a bipolar sufferer and that is who I am.  Someone in need of love, care and support through all the ups and downs.  I have felt utterly alone many many times.  Send flowers to your suffering friend or family.  Trust me it will mean the world.

Art by Jenni Moore
On behave of all those suffering a mental illness...Thank you for caring enough to even read this.  May God bless you and give you the strength to love your loved one fighting this disease.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Summer Mania

The sun shines brighter these days, and the days are longer.  So many of us feel so much better as the winter days are past and we see the sun shining once again.  Some of us may come out of a long suffered depression, while some of us fight the natural urge of hypo-mania or a manic episode.  Although we love the birds sing, the flowers blooming and the warmer days, this time of year can be scary.  I for one am doing great and I can confuse this with being hypo-manic which means a less intense version of a full blown manic episode.  Its hard to tell what I'm experiencing.  If it is a more pleasant mood or a bit of mania.  So I'm keeping special watch over my mood and activities.  I feel especially social and energetic, wanting to go on adventures and do the things that depression wouldn't let me for so many months. 

I have been hospitalized two times during the summer months.  I wish to never have that happen again even though I'm thankful for help if needed.  I"ll tell you a bit of my experience during those times. Maybe you could see a bit of you in my story and get help if you need to.

It was another beautiful summer.  Blue skies, warm weather and lots of time spent with friends and enjoying the water.  I felt so high, so happy. People used to ask me what I was "on".  I always said I have a natural high.  I honestly felt invincible.  I thought I could be the mayor of the town.  Change the world and basically do something BIG.  I was a teenager at this time so that in it's self should have been a warning.  I thought everyone around me was living lower than their potential and should liven up and live.  I quit my job thinking, why am I doing this when I could be doing that?  With no consideration to my employer I never showed up for work again.  I decided to take a trip to the coast.  I had a convertible jeep that my parents were paying for.  All I had to do was provide the gas money and it never once crossed my mind that I could run out of gas and the coast was very far away.  It was extremely spontaneous.  I don't even think I packed anything and only a few people knew what I was doing.  I started off just heading in the direction I thought would lead me to the coast.  I had in my mind that it was filled with happy and loving hippies who would accept me into their "family".  I thought of drum circles and organic salads.  I couldn't wait to get there. 

Everything was incredibly beautiful.  No danger could get me.  I was floating on a cloud and felt like I was flying.  I remember picking up a hitch hiker.  I'm so glad that he turned out to be a very nice guy.  After I dropped him off at his home he payed me back with vegetables from his garden.  God was providing for me and God was with me.  I felt so close to God in such a tangible way.  I was His best friend and the center of His universe.  I knew He was taking care of me and I had nothing to fear.  I then picked up another hitch hiker who wanted to pay me back with weed.  Generous but I did not enjoy drugs at all.  Now if I had a daughter I would have been mortified if she picked up random hitch hikers, especially males.  I was young and naive.  But I was safe.  God really was watching out for me knowing that I was experiencing a mental illness.  I slept on the side of back roads.  I thought I could hear my hippy friends playing their drums and waiting for my arrival.  Only a few times did I feel scared in the dark with only a rag top protecting me from the outside world. 

I finally ran out of gas, or at least close to it.  I had brought my saxophone from high school.  I was planning on playing on the sidewalks and receive alms.  But instead I spotted a music store and sold my saxophone.  Again something my parents bought and I had no consideration for them at all.  I was again provided for this trip was ordained by God.  I filled my gas tank and bought food. 

When I did finally make it to the coast, it was magical.  Just the windy drive down to sea level felt like entering heaven.  I could almost hear the angels singing.  But once I got there I was sad.  I couldn't find my hippie family and it was not a fairy land.  It was normal and quiet busy full of normal life.  It was a let down.  I was alone.  I was disappointed.  I had no where to turn and no body to turn to.  I was deceived.  I parked my car and walked onto the beach.  A man did come up to me and appeared to be homeless.  He kept telling me about Jesus and was saying that He is us.  It was cool but I didn't quiet get was he was wanting me to hear. But he was kind enough to take me to a little church right on the beach.  He said they have free soup and sandwiches.  Of course I went.  I sat at the table visiting the couple serving me.  I excitedly told them about my trip, but they could discern that I was dangerously far from home.  I was 16 and alone and very far from home.  They decided to fill up my gas tank and told me several times to go back home.  They also took me grocery shopping so I had enough food to get me home.  But, without even thinking I was so excited to have enough gas in my car to explore more of the coast.  Everything became magical again and the high continued. 

It was spectacular.  So breathtaking.  It was heavenly.  I decided I needed a bigger car though.  I has always wanted a VW bus.  So I found a camper bus.  Test drove it and offered an exchange.  I had no idea about the papers, I thought I could just hand over the keys.  When the seller realized my naivety he had a very concerned look of his face.  I knew he thought I was crazy but I knew that I was invincible and could do anything and that I was in no danger at all. 

I remember one incident where I was looking over the edge of a cliff out onto the Pacific.  I felt as if I was a prophet and that it was the end of the world.  I had a special message for the whole earth.  I didn't even feel human.  I felt one with God.  My high continued down the coast through three states.  I still had my saxophone money and I ate very little.  After seeing all that I could see I headed back home.  I got there and again felt so high and was trying to get others to join me in changing the world.  They did not find the same enthusiasm. 

Amazingly I was able to take care of myself with angels visiting me all through out my journey.  I was manic but still taken care of.  Gods mercy was with me and He really was taking care of me. 

I do have fond memories but I look back now and could see a mania that was beyond my control.  It scared me a little bit that I was that extreme.  I knew something was off or I was just very different.

This is a somewhat successful story of mania but we are not all that lucky.  Some of us do find ourselves in major danger and go completely out of control.  Mania can be dangerous.  We must be aware of this and keep a watchful eye on our behavior.  Even ask a trusted friend to speak up if they see abnormal behavior.  With mania comes the dreads low that follows.  The high may be fun but the low can be devastating.  I sometimes feel like I had never fully recovered from the low that followed the high.

Let us keep our appointments with our doctor and therapist.  Although we may feel cured let us stay on our medications.  Don't let mania deceive you.  Manage your illness.  Be responsible.  Be safe.  Get help when needed and have a successful summer.

Love and care,
Art by Jenni Moore
Bipolar Butterfly

Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping Things Simple

Have you ever gotten so overwhelmed that you felt like you were going over the edge and would break at any moment. I cant take one more thing!  I'm on overload!  People with bipolar disorder can experience what we call sensory overload.  I have had this my whole life.  I found crowds very overwhelming.  I couldn't handle having a lot of friends at one time.  I would find a quiet space and place at family gatherings.  I didn't know what it was or why I felt that way.  But as I educated myself I found out that its common for those with bipolar to have delicate brain chemistry that can be set out of order if not handled with care.

Think for a minute about a delicate beautiful flower blossom.  That is a picture of our minds. Beautiful but delicate.  And we are responsible for protecting it.  If that means setting limits to our daily activities or making sure we are feeding our flower with water, sunlight and food then it is only fair and right to do that. Which would mean, feeding our minds with beautiful and helpful reading and resources to meditating with happy thoughts and healthy thoughts.  We must care for our beautiful flower and our beautiful mind.

For me keeping things simple is a major key to my sanity.  I thrive when I have limits and boundaries.  I have analyzed what I can handle and what I can't, and there is no shame with setting limits especially those with a mental illness.  I stay close to home.  I have a fairly regular routine.  I work for a time then rest so I don't get into manic mode.  I stimulate my mind by being creative.  I try to keep my home clean and in order.  Making things simple doesn't mean there is not effort or work involved it just means that there is less ciaos and more peace.  Having a massive amount of pressure could send us into a manic or depressive episode. Keeping things simple can keep things stable.  Only you know what simple is to you.  Some of us can handle things that others cant but I encourage you to take a look at the activities you do each day. Ask yourself if its bearing fruit, if its beneficial, if its important, if it aids your life and goal to be stable.  Can you cut back on it? Is it sucking you of life and energy?  I think there are a lot of things we can stop in order to feel more peace.  There are obviously unpleasant things we must do daily. But there are also alot of things we may be doing that are not important and not beneficial.  So lets take a look and see what can be cut off, what can be pruned in order for our lives to bear more beautiful blossoms of peace.

Bipolar Butterfly

Artwork by Jenni Moore

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Help is How I Feel

It feels like a sad numb low emotion type day.  I miss my family. I want my husband. I just want to sit on the couch in his arms.  Watch my children play, listen to their cute little voices.

This is how I felt today.  Being alone was not fun.  Alone was very alone today.  Its when I want to build a nest and hide away from the world.  I become extra thankful for having my place in this world.  The world feels too big for me today.  I don't want to look at the stars, I don't want to look at the view.  I want to look two inches in front of me.  Simple. Simple. Simple.  I can not handle the vastness of space, the news of the nation. I want peace but not quiet. I need You Jesus to quiet my mind. To speak peace to my soul.

So I look right in front of me and I see a palm tree swaying lovingly above me.  I'm here, I'm small, I'm not lost in the complexities of my emotions, chemicals, wires.  I'm here, safe in my husbands arms, watching my children play.  Even though there is such complexity inside, craziness, sadness, uncontrollable swishing.  I focus on whats right in front of me. Love. And instead of faith I believe in what I see.
Art work by Jenni Moore

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stay at Home Mom and Bipolar Disorder

I've had bipolar since the age of fourteen. Earlier actually but that's when I was diagnosed.  Life has always been hard for me.  I remember asking my sister who I shared a room with, how she fell asleep at night.  She said I just close my eyes.  I thought to myself, I wish I could do that. I knew I was different at such a young age falling asleep was so hard. That's just one example.  So I've never really known what normal felt like.  School was hard, I never knew if I would be able to go to collage and pass.  Everything was just too much.  One thing I was good at was sports and being active. I rode my bike everywhere and loved challenging my body. 

Everyone had goals and ideas of what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I had no idea.  I liked sports but wasn't a star athlete so I really didn't see myself doing that in any professional sense.  So I would just make up things, knowing that it would never happen.  There was so much pressure to figure your life out so soon in age.

I did want to find love but I never told anyone my desire to marry and have a family some day.  But it was in my heart and wasn't considered a career choice.  I saw my brother marry right out of high school and my parents had done the same so that was what I wanted too. I wanted to marry young and be the best wife ever. 

It didn't happen when I thought it would and I had to go through alot before I did marry right after my twenty-fourth birthday.  I thought it was a bit old but I now look back and see that it was still young.  Before I became a wife I joined the ministry. I wanted to be a missionary to Africa but instead joined a ministry team that traveled around the U.S.  That's actually how I met my husband. We met in church. I had odd jobs while I was in the ministry. You don't get paid doing ministry work. I was a waitress, sales clerk, doctors assistance and some other odd jobs.  I managed but it was harder for me because of the frequent bipolar symptoms.  At the time I was unmedicated and basically managed on my own.  Work took everything out of me to the point that when I wasn't working I was recovering from work.  I had anxiety attacks all the time, running to the bathroom to get it together. I would mess up more than I like to admit.  For the most part my peers and bosses were very gracious with me and tried to help.  I did a good job when the symptoms were at bay but when they did show up it took everything in me to not mess up at my job.  Unfortunately I got to points when I could not control the panic attacks and would mess up instead of asking for help. I was breaking down.  So I have been fired two times and I've quit at times before they could fire me.  One boss told me that I was bipolar and should get some help and offered his wife to help.  Another one said, I really don't want to fire you, we love you but its not my choice.  They saw my unrelenting effort.  My world felt hopeless, if I couldn't manage these jobs what can I do with my life?  Just struggle from job to job?

After I got married I immediately got pregnant.  Again I was looking for a job. I found one as a doctors assistance in an eyeglass store. I would take care of all the paper work for the doctor and help fitting people for their contacts.  It was a great job and a lot less stressful than being a server.  Unfortunately my boss there could also tell that I was bipolar despite my major efforts to hide it.  I quit that job too not being able to hold on.  To this day they said if I ever want to come back I could.  They were willing to work with me.  I was in so much distress.  I was at the point where I needed outside assistance. I could not live my life like this. I needed help.

So one day as I was driving home from a job interview again. I was praying so hard asking God for His help. And I heard so loud in my spirit that He was going to provide and not to worry.  It was from that moment on that my husband and I thought it would be best for me to stay home, have the baby and then be a stay at home mom and care for our son.  I finally felt some peace.  Being pregnant really brought out some major symptoms of bipolar.  I now know that that is not uncommon.  So life was still very hard even though I was safe at home.  But I was also relieved that I had found my niche in this big world. I was a wife, home-maker and soon to be stay at home mom. 

I gave myself over to this job wanting to do my best.  I read books, tons of books on how to love your husband and children and how to keep home. How to be a mommy and so on.  I have a book shelf filled with these books.  I also had to get over the feelings of inferiority that the world puts on stay at home moms.  The feeling of being at home while everyone else was at work was hard to over come.  But I found in the Bible just how much God values this roll and its held in high esteem.  Its a very important job that makes a major difference in our families life.  I learned that its very good for a marriage. Its wonderful for the children to have a full time mommy.  I flourished in this role. I embraced it and put all my heart and soul into it. 

When my children were younger I had us all on a strict schedule that allowed times for play, learning, nap and feeding times.  I taught my children from when they were babies.  I tried all kinds of schedules to keep the house tidy and clean.  I learned how to be a good wife from older woman who have been there and have written books.  I do believe that we have reaped the benefits of the work I've put into our family. 

I was raised in a house where the mother worked. So our house was cold and empty.  It was a part of my motivation to make our house warm and full of life.  Now I'm not going to lie and say that it has been easy.  Some days are very hard but compared to working out there in the world this is easier on my emotions and stress levels are down.  I have time to rest if I need to. I can be creative. I don't have tons of costumers to please. The only time deadlines are dinner and making sure kids are at school on time and picking them up.  I have time to write blogs.  I can read and learn and grow as a person and I live with no regrets as I have been there for all my children's firsts.  My marriage is flourishing, we have time for each other and I'm not so stressed out from work that I cant hang with my husband. 

Now I know that being a stay at home mom is not always easy, especially for those who suffer bipolar disorder.  You've got to structure your day or you'll be a mess ready to happen.  We have no boss and have to structure our own day and know what we want from each day.  I know that we have the choice to be lazy and unproductive.  But that is not healthy and that is not being a stay at home mom.  Its is still work, just a different kind of work.  One of my biggest challenges is to have routine, to know what to do and when to do it.  I sometimes picture in my mind what kind of home experience I would want if I was on the receiving end and then I try to be that. 

When I am experiencing mania I am able to get lots done.  The house gets cleaned up, closets get organized, new projects are started, the kitchen gets filled with groceries and I've got an amazing meal cooking along with desert.  They are the perfect days, the days I wish I could have everyday.  Then there are the depressive days when getting out of bed is a major challenge.  Its good that I have to to get my kids to school.  But then there is the temptation to go back to bed, but then I have to get up to pick them up.  When they were smaller on the depressive days we would have a chill day, relaxing.  Watch t.v. and laz around.  It was refreshing for all of us cause our days are usually very structured.  So it worked.  But now that they are in school its harder.  They are not there to keep me up.  I struggle with not wanting to just stay in bed.  I try to make good decisions but the depression is so strong.  I do make it however. I push myself to get the housework done. Plan for dinner and manage to get all the homework done etc. 

I know that having bipolar is a very difficult illness to manage.  I'm sure any job with bipolar is a challenge and I know that the temptation to do nothing as a stay at home mom is hard to resist.  Again I ask myself what I would want if I was on the receiving end and try to be that.  When the kids were young and stayed home full time it was alot easier. I was never alone.  Being alone while they are at school can be dreadfully boring and lonely and I have to have motivation.  I still read the books and stay motivated by blogs and facebook moms. 

What I'm trying to say is. Being a stay at home is an important job and is not a cope out for giving into the illness. Our families deserve our effort.  Yes there will be bad days, yes you will mess up, yes we will not have a perfectly clean home but we can try.  I know that this is the career I was born to do, the one chosen by God.  It didn't take bipolar away but it has given me an opportunity to flourish in my gifts with out outside pressure.  Like today, I slept in.  The house is messy and I'm sitting writing a blog while my sons are playing the wii.  I am certainly blessed and continue to do my best.  This job I wont get fired from.  Also if your a stay at home mom its hard to find the support and motivation you need. I encourage you to find an online community and read some books.  Its an awesome job and when you see and know the benefits it will put a new pep in your step.
Also it helps to have your families support.  It took awhile for my husband to understand bipolar and being a stay at home mom.  He sees my effort and is easy on me when I'm having a hard day.  He says dispite your mental illness your a wonderful wife and mom.  We are blessed to have you. Now I may not get a paycheck but words like this feed my soul more than a paycheck could. We can do this thing and do it well.

God has a place for us all, bipolar of not. I hope you find yours soon and bloom where you are planted.
Bipolar Butterfly

Monday, February 6, 2012

Depression and Weight Gain

I lose weight, I gain it back...usually while I'm experiencing depression. I'm doing so good getting exercise and eating healthy then a depression comes and knocks me down and I'm back in a rut.  Have you been through this?  I know what your supposed to do when your depressed. Exercise and eat healthy. How hard this has been for me. I tend to turn to food for pleasure. I actually feel something when I eat.  Then the pounds start piling back on. So frustrating.

How do I break this cycle? I wish I had the answer. I do know that I will not give up and quit trying. I don't like being overweight but at the same time I'm not going to hate myself for it either.  I'm going to try and find other things that help me feel better. Like right now, I'm writing about it instead of eating.  And I know that once this depression passes I will be able to easier take care of myself. 

What do you do when your depressed to help take the edge off besides eating. I'm very open to your wisdom, and I'm sure other readers will be too. Depression wants to keep us down, eating and gaining weight could bring us down even further. But when its all said and done we must not be the voice beating ourselves up. We fall down and get back up again.  Win a little here and win a little there. I hope the fight becomes easier as time goes by.

Bipolar Butterfly

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bipolar, Anxiety and Courage

Have you ever felt so anxious that even the thought of leaving the house would put you in a panic?  I have and I'm sure many of you have as well.  People who don't have a mental illness could find this absurd and silly but for us its very real and frightening.  I used to have so much anxiety that even taking a tiny walk to the mailbox gave me anxiety. After recieving ant-axiety medication I was amazed how I could go to the mailbox without feeling anxious.

Where does this kind of crazy anxiety come from?  Well I don't know, there is usually nothing to be scared of.  I'm sure doctors or specialists have there ideas and answers. I do know that more times than not its just a feeling, a very strong feeling but in reality nothing bad is going to happen, we are perfectly safe.  I was plagued with thoughts of becoming a total hermit and staying home and staying safe.  but I would have to go to the store. Aah, what do I do now?  I step out even when I'm feeling a tremendous amount of fear. I would go shopping even if I was shaking.  I would step out of the house and into the car and just GO. 

Bipolar and anxiety would love to keep us from living.  I don't want to stop living, do you? I didn't think so.  What do you HAVE to do today that is giving you anxiety?  Well I dare you to do it even if your feeling so much fear that you think you might have a panic attack. I want you to take one baby step then another, then another.  Say I can do this, I'm safe, nothing is going to happen.  Get in the car and go to the grocery store even if your shaking in your boots. Win this battle. Courage is not having the feelings of fear, courage is feeling fear but doing it anyways.  Having courage is an awesome attribute and you have it.  Others may not understand what a huge mountain you just climbed but you will and you will have a huge amount of applause for yourself.

Remember to live despite how you feel.  There is still more life outside the box of bipolar and anxiety. Now please do use good judgement. don't go out and do something crazy and if your truly having a panic attack do not push yourself any more. Take a step back and breath...but then get back up till you make it. I know its hard, I've dealt with panic attacks many times. but I've never stopped trying to live.  I hope your filled with courage and encouragement.

Bipolar Butterfly ( Jenni ) Here is an awesome song by Dolly Parton...better get to liven, it encouraged me a couple years ago when going the the grocery store was a huge accomplishment.                           

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bipolar and Depression

Did you know that it is depression that dominates a person life with bipolar than it is mania?  For me that has been true. It started in early childhood. I had no idea what it was at the time, but I noticed sadness in myself more than my peers and family. I remember thinking, even if my parents said we were going to Disney Land I would still not be excited, and that's something to get excited about.

Also depressive episodes typically last longer than mania and is harder to treat, where as mania can be treated but usually needs emergency attention. But those who suffer depression are at a greater risk for suicide.

When I was about 14 that was the case for me. I felt nothing, just nothing, I remember saying I feel like a bump on a log. There was nothing that brought joy or excitement and boy did I try. It was a beautiful summer day and where I live there was a beautiful big lake. My dad took all of us kids out in the boat, water skiing and tubing a super fun activity. Everyone around me was having so much fun and I should have been too. I remember seeing pictures of that day and thinking man I sure don't look depressed. I could put a smile on my face for the camera pretty easily. I was scared for what I was feeling. It was not normal and not right. I would usually have loved a day like that. After being out on the boat I went to my brothers girlfriends house to play pool.  I felt like I was in a bubble of nothingness while life was happening right around me but not touching me at all. I had my medication with me. To this day I don't know why. My mom called them happy pills cause they were supposed to make me happy. I knew deep down inside what I was doing but I used that word happy pill to my advantage to do something very stupid. While my brother and his girlfriend were playing pool I excused myself to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror, looked down at the bottle of pills, said to myself, I want to be happy and I took all the pills at once hoping that the more I take the happier I would be. That was my intention but at the same time I somehow knew that it was suicidal. I really don't remember alot after that or how I got home but I remember running through the door screaming Jesus forgive me I don't want to die over and over. I was so scared I was going to die and go to hell. My dad came over wondering what the heck was happening he figured it out. Next thing I know I'm in a hospital room experiencing hallucinations. I saw demons outside my window, I saw a big door with scaring lizard walking across it. There were crazy looking critters everywhere. I was so scared agian screaming Jesus save me!! Screaming a deathly scream. A nurse asked me if I wanted a minister to come in. I should have said yes. After that I think they tranquilized me cause I didn't wake up till I was now in the physic ward. Om gosh how did I end up here. All I wanted was to feel again and be happy.

This is the danger of being depressed. You basically feel dead. Its shows in poor work and not being able to do things right or do them at all and then feeling shame of not doing a good job. Depression disrupts work and school and even your family and social life. Also it is noted that bipolar depression is worse than regular depression. There are 37 days of depression for every 1 day of mania. Wow!  So not only are we experiencing depression we experience guilt as well, feeling worthless.

So how can we help ourselves when we are experiencing these symptoms? We first of all need to encourage self-esteem to combat the feelings of worthlessness and guilt of not being able to live life at its fullest or take advantage of our talents cause depression is in the way, we fear we have nothing to offer and burden other people and would be better off being dead.

How to encourage self-esteem:
We must listen to the little voice inside our head. More than likely its a mean, destructive, hateful voice re enforcing out feelings of worthlessness. In other words negative thinking.  We must work on thinking happy thoughts. Taking and stopping the negative thought and filling it with a better one.  So we must watch and then tame our thoughts. Think of your mind as a garden. Beautiful thoughts create a beautiful garden, negative thoughts create a dead ugly dark garden that no one wants to enter. What are some lovely and beautiful thoughts? Think on those things.
You may not feel happy...think I am happy.
You may not feel calm...think I am calm.
You may feel like dieing...think I feel like living.
So most times it the opposite of what the negative thought is.
No body loves me...think I am loved.
I've got nothing to offer... I have much to offer.
I hate myself...say I love myself.
These things will encourage self-esteem. It may take awhile for your brain to believe these new thoughts but with practice you can retrain your thoughts and over time this will build your self-esteem.

Sleep and mood are joined at the hip. If one does not get enough sleep even the ones without depression can become grumpy. How much more for those suffering bipolar. So sleep is very important and not having enough sleep can cause depression.  One deprived night of sleep can flip into mania. Its difficult to sleep when we have racing thoughts, emotional stress, and restlessness. This in turn can cause sadness, anxiousness and irritability. Before electric lights people usually got 10 hours of sleep. I'm thinking that should be our goal. I know when I have 10 or 12 hours of sleep I'm much more happier and things are easier.  Insomnia can cause confusion, tension, fatigue, anger, wrong thinking and mood episodes. So what can we do to help ourselves get a good nights sleep when we are experiencing insomnia or having a difficult time getting to sleep.
Relaxation routines
A calming yoga routine right before bed.
Visualizing relaxing on a warm beach or anywhere that brings peace to your soul.
Cd's to assist sleep or even apps on your phone. There are plenty of free ones that work.
Also light at night is the enemy. Light at night can throw out our bodies biological rhythms. We all have within us a sleep and wake cycle. Unfortunately individuals with bipolar tend to be night owls so we have the challenge of retraining our sleep/wake cycle. Also when you exercise exercise earlier in the day otherwise your body will have a harder time calming down after a vigerous workout.

Depression is a very draining and tough illness so be prepared. At 14 I did not know what to do with the emotions of emptiness I was experiencing. Taking more happy pills was the only I could think of. So take these tools, use them and it will make getting through alot easier.
Take care,
Jenni bipolar butterfly <3